Titmuss 1 & 2
didn't realize the Leslie shagger was so involved in Tech, suppose GPS guidance may be useful in directing various objects towards various orifices.
Paris cos we aint got no Abi.
It's open season now. BT is the latest company to sue Google, alleging patent infringement, but this latest barrage extends beyond Google's Android software - it touches to other Google services too. These include maps, music, social networking and its advertising services, including Adwords, claims BT. Although only the six …
BT, please attempt to provide a basic working infrastructure that even a second-year CS Uni student could manage to put together in his spare time plus some vague assemblance of customer care. One that involves actually getting to speak to someone human within 5 minutes of calling the help line and who doesn't simply fob you off with, "Sorry, can't help you with that, call such and such on this number I'll give you."!!!
Patent offices grant thousands of invalid patents every month. Not even google has enough money to read them all, find the one or two that are actually valid and create work arounds for them. The old solution was to get a stack of invalid patents of your own to cross licence. That does not work against trolls. In Oracle verses Google, Oracle did their best to hide which patents were at stake. The judge ordered Oracle to identify a small number of patents to go to trial, and if anything survives re-examination, Oracle can try again with more patents. The vast majority of Oracle's claims have already been invalidated. Now BT wants to have their patents trashed too.
The whole idea of working via a troll is that a troll can declare bankruptcy to avoid paying fines for barratry. Oracle and BT have money, so they will have to pay up eventually.
"But let me clarify that many others - maybe more serious - do check."
Can even the likes of Google - King of Search! - realistically check for every vaguely worded scribble that passes for a supposedly relevant patent these days? How much time is everyone supposed to spend on trawling through mountains of filings so as not to otherwise infringe on someone's "moment of genius" by accident, just by applying the process of logical deduction in their work? Instead of doing a day's work, are we all supposed to spend weeks trawling through patents with the company lawyers before finally getting sued by a patent we didn't even spot?
If I were you I'd hold off on the "we're more serious than you and Google undertones" unless you're making claims about your legal department, and even then I doubt that your company's lawyers are more serious than Google's.
The opinion expressed in the article that Google somehow "deserve" to be sued doesn't bear scrutiny - not really a surprise given the author's desperate attempt to fling mud at Google at every turn - but BT, whose business appears to be about delivering mediocre service despite having a huge advantage as an incumbent and scrawling their name on other people's achievements on the basis of some "great ideas" from their employees (who, in the case of the "hyperlink patent", were rewarded in a miserly manner), deserve to be taken to the cleaners.
In the US, over 100'000 patents are granted each year. That is roughly 400 patents per work day. Assuming you can read a patent in five minutes, that is eight people who do nothing but check patents. And somehow they have to know what the whole company is doing and find out if this particular patent is breached – which should take days of work to a patent lawyer to have an opinion on. Now tell me again that there are companies who check for all possible patents they might infringe upon.
It does not help that patents are generally written in a language that engineers do not understand:
So realistically, it is impossible to both have the engineering knowledge to create a new product, and the legal knowledge to find out on what patents you are infringing; even though you can be almost certain that no matter what you do, you are infringing on some of them.
This is starting to look like a Chain Reaction process which is spreading throughout the telecoms industry, as they fight for position.
I guess the pressure has been building for years. For a start we have the survival pressure of the consolidating telecoms industry (not least of which highlighted by the loss of two major Operating Systems this year, ie. Symbian and Palm) which is further being exacerbated by the survival pressure of the recession. Added to this, we have the insanity of the fundamentally broken patent system which has for years created effectively a Mutual Assured Destruction feedback loop arms race, where companies feel they have to build huge arsenals of patents to fend off other companies patent arsenals. It all looks like we are now reaching a perfect storm critical mass, where spontaneous litigation is self-sustaining.
Makes me wonder how far this Chain Reaction can spread before it burns itself out?
2011 has already been a landmark year not least of which the loss of two major Operating Systems, but we also have RIM on the ropes, Nokia shot itself in both feet and Motorola Mobility got assimilated by Google. Meanwhile we have Microsoft slowly waking up to the very unfamiliar problem of rapidly becoming sidelined into an almost unthinkable 3rd place, by the incredible growth of mobile operating systems becoming far more widespread. Its all changing and so fast.
I think we need a popcorn icon. :)
2012 looks like its going to be very interesting, although more than a bit worrying not knowing which way to go job wise, but its certainly going to be interesting.
Anyway as we don't have a popcorn icon, here's the drink icon. Cheers and Merry Christmas to all of us technology news watchers. :)
The companies hired all those lawyers to play the great patent game. At some point someone was bound to ask them to earn their salary.
So now they give it a shot, earning money the way they were trained to do - by litigation. It may take a while (and quite some legal fees) to separate predator from prey and figure out if there is economic value in all those technology patents.
Nice find Andrew. I totally agree with that last remark you make (and unfortunatly I am a cynic).
Problem is that all telcos are bullies. Especially in their native place of origin. BT sucks in Britain yet BT overseas is much better... euhm.. tolerated.
The same with KPN (the Dutch telco) or Belgacom (the belgian telco). Similar comments are also heard on France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom (better known abroad as T-Mobile). We're all living in a mess and yet they dare to speak of global communications. I guess it's a miracle that we even have electricity these days.
Oh well. My DSL-line is working for now so the rost hasn't completely rotted the telephonecable (yet) that's been burried underground 100 years ago.
This alleged IP is based on all the R&D effort dating from before BT was 'privatised'. So if BT wins this claim (not bloody likely!), it is only right that they apportion the proceeds to the original IP owners: you and me by way of the UK treasury.
Are the UK's economic woes over thanks to a ruling against Google, I wonder?
BT was privatised, not 'privatised'. It was actually sold, for a pretty fair price (and in a large part, the shares were bought by ordinary people) and after that point, we can't really complain about them monetizing the assets we sold them.
OTOH if they did have a $50bn judgement (unlikely), there could easily be a special 'YouJustSuedGoogleAndWon" windfall tax.
Some smart arse has hatched this as the only way he'll make a bonus in 2012/13
Only problem is the suckers at the top of BT fell for it ... probably out of desperation.
BT have been screwing the British public for decades, obviously times are hard, and its time to diversify into screwing companies that have pots of cash as well... normally when this happens it takes about 3 to 5 years before they realise they've pissed away hundreds of millions in legal fees with no discernable gain, and the original people who came up with the action have left and gone back to Oracle.
What software is inside the BT Vision set top boxes?
How many other set top box products around the world are based around that software?
Was that software selected on its engineering and technical merits, or was it a product forced in by a deal made at CEO level, by a software vendor desperate to get at least one success story for its failing STB strategy?
Can you tell who it is yet?
Just askin', like.
Willful infringement => triple damages IIRC
I'm not sure due diligence helps at all these days - there will always be a patent problem when it comes to software.
I know this isn't how the system works, but morally, if you come up with an idea on your own you shouldn't have to pay someone-else to use it. I know that's pretty much impossible to enforce in law. :(
I suspect BT are going for legal-fight fatigue - hoping Google will settle just to clear its plate of some legal problems, or some lawyer at BT is hoping to make a name for themselves.
Perhaps the patent office should be paid per application, not per patent granted (maybe that's already the case). It should also have discretion to throw the patent applications back with, "this should be a trade secret, not a patent" response for things which are trivial, like the smiley patents.
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